The Rise of Ransomware
More companies are being held hostage. Spear phishing is fueling the epidemic.
Ransomware is on the rise. An estimated 714 million attempted ransomware attacks were launched by the close of 2021 — a 134% increase over the previous year. As the favored tool of bad guys ranging from greedy cybercriminals to nationstate threat actors, this devastating cyberattack is a menace to businesses of every size, in every industry. Cybersecurity Ventures estimates the worldwide cost of ransomware at $20 billion in 2021. That number is expected to rise to $265 billion by 2031. The ransomware crisis just keeps getting worse — and harder to defend against.
One reason for that difficulty is that the most common attack vector for ransomware is spear phishing, and phishing has exploded. The top data breach threat for three consecutive years, phishing is a plague on organizations. 80% of IT professionals saw a substantial increase in phishing attacks including those carrying ransomware in 2021. Consistently rising email volumes from remote work and shifts to more cloud-based operations for businesses give cybercriminals more chances to get phishing messages that carry ransomware into employee inboxes.